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    Address: Jl. Gandapura III, no. 501X
    Kesiman Kertalangu
    Denpasar
    Bali - Indonesia

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    What are ogoh-ogoh?

    About a month before Balinese New Year (Nyepi), the banjar youth group get together and plan the construction of ogoh-ogoh. Ogoh-ogoh are giant dolls made from bamboo frames which are intricately weaved and tied and then covered with papier mache. They are made in the form of creatures of the underworld known in Balinese as buta-kala, in English something like ‘Satan’. The creatures are based on characters taken from traditional myths and legends, however in modern times many also take the form of modern characters, including even people in the media or in the government.

    For young Balinese, making ogoh-ogoh is a challenging but exciting art form and one month before Nyepi, most banjars are bubbling with “ogoh-ogoh fever”. It’s no mean feat to make a papier mache doll metres high. Just getting it to stand up is a task, let alone making it lifelike.

    Ogoh-ogoh are paraded around the streets on the eve of Nyepi, known as Pengerupukan. Most main roads are closed off and thousands of people gather to watch the parade. It may take up to 30 people to carry a large ogoh-ogoh and each banjar includes a team of musicians playing gamelan and sometimes male and female dancers. When ogoh-ogoh emerge in the early eighties, however, it was just the ogoh-ogoh which were paraded in the streets on the eve of Nyepi. These days, however, they are often accompanied by drama performances put on by the local youths that march along with the procession.

    The gamelan ensemble used to accompany the ogoh-ogoh is called baleganjur which is made up of up to 15 musicians playing gongs, cymbals and drums. The louder the music the better, as their function is to scare off any demons before Nyepi, the day of silence. After being paraded till midnight, the giant dolls are ceremoniously burnt to represent the destruction of the demons on Earth.

    ©2010 Vaughan Hatch<–>

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